In some of the most serious cases of divorce in California, one spouse may request to terminate the parental rights of the other spouse. The termination of parental rights legally ends the parent-child relationship, including all rights to custody, visitation, inheritance, support, and liability. However, the California family court typically only considers this type of request in specific circumstances or if a parent voluntarily agrees to terminate parental rights. If you would like to speak with a California family lawyer about incorporating the termination of parental rights into your divorce, call or contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler today to schedule a free consultation of your case.
Causes for Terminating Parental Rights
California law typically considers an action to terminate the parental rights of a spouse only if certain situations occur. Causes for action to terminate a parent’s rights include abandonment of the family, neglect or cruelty to the child, substance abuse, serious alcoholism, or moral depravity, felony criminal conviction of the parent, a parent being declared developmentally disabled or mentally ill, or claims of a mentally disabled parent. In order to claim abandonment, you must be able to show that the parent has provided no financial support, has had little to no contact with the child in over one year, and had the intent to abandon the family. Claims of physical or sexual abuse of the child typically fall under the cause of neglect or cruelty to the child.
Your attorney can file the request for the termination of parental rights as part of the divorce decree or in a separate action. A hearing will be set at which both parents will have an opportunity to present their cases. If the parent whose rights may be terminated fails to appear for court, the judge may default and terminate his or her rights.
Reasons to Terminate Parental Rights
Parental rights can be terminated for many reasons during a divorce. The most pressing issue is when there is an immediate threat to that child’s safety, or if the family has been abandoned by the parent. However, parental rights can also be terminated because one parent has entered into a relationship with another person who wishes to adopt the child as their own. It should be noted that a parent cannot terminate their parental rights simply to avoid paying child support or to resolve a custody dispute, even if the other parent agrees.
In addition, a parent cannot petition the court to terminate the other parent’s rights during a divorce simply to block that parent from being a part of their child’s life. Talk to an experienced California family law attorney today to learn more about when termination of parental rights might be the best option for your family.
Call or Contact Us Now
The termination of parental rights is a very serious consideration that should only be handled by a California family law attorney during your divorce. Call the office or contact us today at the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler in Beverly Hills to learn more.